Counting all the men you know that played football, either recreationally or professionally at some point in their life, it would not be a fun task. Well after watching “Concussion” I did exactly that, sat down, and started to think about those men and young boys. The fact that playing football as a child may cause mental health issues later in life is a chilling thought. Even though it is not too surprising considering the physicality of football. The results of Dr. Bennet Omalu’s research are very disturbing and the exact reason the National Football League had a frenzy when they heard about his findings over ten years ago.
Concussion starring Will Smith dissects how professional football players are affected mentally, physically, and emotionally by hard hits and an excessive amount of games. The movie beautifully shows the tragic stories of Pittsburg Steelers hall of famer Mike Webster, Andre Waters, Dave Duerson and others, and how pathologist Bennet Omalu discovered that these athletes had the crippling disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
I had the privilege of attending a prescreening of the movie (thank you Blogxilla and Global Grind) and for me the experience of seeing how these athletes’ entire lives was centered around football to only have the center of their world be the cause of their demise was heart breaking. The movie so gracefully shows the dirty truths of CTE and how the disease not only kills these athletes mentally, spiritually and emotionally, but also affects their families and friends. Concussion had clever and strategically placed humor, which made the movie feel less somber. Ultimately, it was the drive for survival through Omalu and the players that made the biggest impact for me. Not only was Omalu fighting for his career he was fighting for the players and the voice they lost from CTE. It is interesting to see how football caused all these men including the coaches, players and Omalu to fight for something bigger than themselves. Unfortunately, that same drive caused some athletes their lives, but their need to succeed and support their families was powerful. Concussion is definitely one of the most groundbreaking and impactful sports movies to date. I strongly encourage you to see the movie Concussion hits theaters on Christmas Day!